Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Adjusting the Width of Characters.

Adjusting the Width of Characters

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2022)

Word provides a way you can adjust the horizontal size of characters in your document. Actually, the scaling can be applied to any characters in a selection. To format characters in this way, follow these steps:

  1. Select the characters you want to scale.
  2. Choose Format | Font. Word displays the Font dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Character Spacing tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Character Spacing tab of the Font dialog box.

  5. Use the Scale drop-down list to specify the scaling you want applied to the characters. You can select from a pre-defined scale, or enter any value between 1% and 600%.
  6. Click on OK.

If you find you have a need to scale quite a few selections in your documents, you can add a scaling tool to a toolbar:

  1. Choose Customize from the Tools menu. Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Commands tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  3. Figure 2. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box.

  4. In the Categories list, select Format.
  5. In the Commands list, select Character Scaling.
  6. Use the mouse to drag the selected command to the position you want it to occupy on your toolbars.
  7. Click on Close to dismiss the Customize dialog box.

With the Character Scaling tool in place, you can easily change the scaling of any selected text at any time.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (607) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Adjusting the Width of Characters.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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